Credibility Question Trails Ibori’s Confiscation Case In London-Few days to the commencement of a confiscation of assets case involving the former governor of Delta State, Nigeria, James Onanafe Ibori and the UK government, a Crown Court judge has expressed that the current Police corruption would not be overlooked in the determination of the case.
According to the Judge, the road to right justice in the confiscation case may be laced with broken bottles as corruption case involving Police detectives in the case may make the case procedure very hazardous.
Sir Stephen Tomlinson claimed he would be keeping an open mind in taking into consideration Police corruption allegation in the money laundering case and its related accusation of bribery in order to carry out fair trial.
He said he would would keep an open mind to take constant review of the case as the asset confiscation case. He claimed: ‘I have an obligation to keep an open mind and keep this under constant review’.
The Judge arrived at his point after reading the statement witness of James Ibori’s former defence counsel, Mr Nicholas Purnell QC who had claimed that the crown counsels misled him to cause his client, James Ibori, to plead guilty during the original money laundering case.
The judge said that after ‘reading Purnell’s statements, there were potentially useful points which may affect the procedures and directions which the case had taken previously.
According to the Judge, the June start date of the Confiscation of asset case may have had some number of Potential hazards which may center on allegations made in the previous proceedings.
The Confiscation hearing in the meantime is due to start on 6th June at Southwark Crown in South-East London.
Earlier on, Lawyers representing the former Governor of Delta State, James Onanefe Ibori had expressed fears over the credibility of the coming confiscation of assets case and how fair justice could have been in play as the case commences.
The defense Counsel to James Ibori, Mr Ivan Krolic, QC has said he was not convinced there would be fair trial following established case of bribery and corruption by officers of the Metropolitan Police who handled investigations into the case of money laundering and corruption leveled against the ex-governor.
As the confiscation case kicks of in June, Krolic alleged that there may be no fair trial in view of a running scandal by detectives as the case commenced at the Southwark Crown Court in South-East London since the police detective handling the case allegedly were involved in bribery and corruption.
Krolic,QC claimed there were established cases of corruption against the police and the crown prosecution counsels who handled James Ibori’s investigation in the original money laundering case trial.
Revelation during the last hearing in an appeal case by one of Ibori’s lawyers standing trial for implicating the police had revealed large scale corruption inside the investigative panel to Ibori’s money laundering case.
The revelation had led to the entire police investigating the money laundering case and crown prosecution team in the case being dismissed from the case and changed for corruption.
As the confiscation pre-hearing sitting took place last week, Mr Krolic said the integrity of the entire process has been put in doubt and it would be unfair of the court to continue unless it looks at their application of abuse of court process brought against the police and prosecution in the case.
He noted in the court revelations that detectives who were involved in the investigation of James Ibori for money laundering engaged were themselves in cocktail of corruption and were aided, abetted and covered up by the crown prosecution.
Hammering on the integrity question, the QC argued that the entire process of law application has been put to serious questioning and it would only be fair for the court to look at the accused person’s application filed on the abuse of court process and take the right decision.
Krolic argued there was a deliberate and calculated attempt by the crown prosecution to manipulate the law process in order to gain undue advantage in the case and inflate the confiscation figure.
Quoting Krolic,: “There are cases of abuse of process against the crown prosecution to deliberately manipulate the process to gain undue advantage and inflate the confiscation figure which will require a stay of proceeding in this case to allow for the abuse of process to be dealt with’.
Putting the Judge in awareness of the pending danger in the event that the confiscation case kicks-off Krolic said: ‘Our argument is that the whole process is infected and it will be wrong for the confiscation hearing to continue”, adding: “The allegation is that the crown consistently and deliberately manipulated the system while adopting a tactical manipulation of Ibori to plead guilty as they engaged him in mind game in order for him to plead guilty. The specter has given the prosecutors the leeway to inflate the confiscation figures even as allegation of police corruption in this case persisted’.
The Confiscation hearing in the meantime is due to start on 6th June at Southwark Crown in London
Why Ex- Governor James Ibori Remains in British Prison
Jailed former Delta State governor, Chief James Ibori, would have been deported to Nigeria last March because he is still awaiting procedures in his confiscation of assets case.
It was claimed during a hearing that the confiscation of assets case has experienced series of delay and adjournment. According to Ibori’s lead defence counsel, Ivan Krolick and Crown Prosecutor, Jonathan Kinnear, appearing in a pre-hearing procedure at the Southwark Crown court in London South East on Thursday, the former governor could have been transferred to his home country in Nigeria.
Appearing for the preliminary confiscation of assets hearing, Kinnear added: “ I have made enquiries from the Home Office , and he will not be released under any circumstances before December.”
Also speaking on why the former governor is still being held in UK prison, Krolick, told the court . “As a foreign prisoner, he would have been removed and deported in March,” but lamented that although “he was approved for early removal, but that chance is gone now .”